September 24, 2020

What Features of the Ukrainian Business Culture Fit Norwegian Business Needs?

The history of collaboration between Ukrainian and Norwegian tech companies goes back to the 90’s, when the tech industry was just beginning to develop. Globalization and abundant experience in collaboration have sufficiently narrowed the discrepancies between the Norwegian and the Ukrainian business cultures, and the very few that remain are in no way an obstacle for successful cooperation.

Ukrainians Have a Pro-European Mentality

Ukraine’s business culture, being part of the country’s overall mentality, has undergone dramatic changes in the last three decades. After the fall of the USSR, Ukraine regained its independence and opened the borders for collaboration with international companies. With a large number of tech specialists to develop the tech sphere, Ukraine entered the global tech market right away.

Ukraine’s abundant tech talent wasn’t the only reason why the country’s tech industry skyrocketed, it was also its European mentality. The geographic proximity to the EU, the lasting experience of European tech companies outsourcing to Ukraine, and the recent political events have all contributed to the nation-wide adoption of pro-European values.

Historically, borderline areas were always the hotbeds of cultural exchange, which generated a transitional mindset in Ukrainians in the 17th–20th centuries. To the west and south, Ukraine borders Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, and Slovakia, most of them belonging to the EU. The modern mentality about which we’ll speak in a minute was largely shaped after the Orange Revolution (2004) and the Maidan (2014), during which the Ukrainian nation overthrew pro-Russian presidents after they took an anti-EU political direction.

Small and Middle Tech Companies Adopt Flat Structure

During the last decade, the tech industry in Ukraine has grown over 300% and continues to rise at a stable rate of 26% annually. From the beginning, fast-emerging tech companies in Ukraine abandoned hierarchical structures that mimicked the old-fashioned approach to people management because it no longer reflected the mentality of new generations of Ukrainians. Now, the majority of small and middle-sized tech companies have flat or low-hierarchy structures. Some large tech companies, though, continue to implement hierarchical structures for the sake of efficient management of large groups of people.

Interpersonal Relationships and Clarity Drive Productivity

A classical structure of a team in a Ukrainian tech company has a manager who distributes tasks, communicates risks to the clients, and presents initiatives in front of team members. Traditionally, the majority of employees treat subordination within a team with respect. In some alternative approaches of collaboration, like when a Norwegian company hires a remote team of developers in Ukraine, there’s no middleman between the programmers and the client, so the communication style leans towards whichever one is exercised by the client.

By building clear communication and establishing trustful relationships, Norwegian clients receive a loyal, hardworking team without a 9-to-6 mindset. Being great critical thinkers, Ukrainian developers will push through to meet deadlines and take extra time to make the product work as well as it possibly can. Nevertheless, it’s not common among Ukrainians to express criticism openly unless it’s absolutely necessary.

When a conflict of interests arises, a programmer’s negative opinion is run by the middleman, such as a project manager or a team leader, first, and only then is passed over to the client. During the working process, however, it’s common that programmers challenge approaches and ideas of superiors and peers and share opinions openly among team members.

With a clear understanding of ground rules, deadlines, and functions, a team of Ukrainian programmers will show great performance and loyalty to a client. The main benefit for a Norwegian tech company owner would be that they’ll be able to build their product fast and efficiently. In our experience, the rate of initiative among a Ukraine-based team rises with the establishment of strong interpersonal relationships between the client and the programmers.

Ukrainian Programmers Are Self-Motivated English Learners

Unlike in Norway, the majority of English-speaking programmers in Ukraine learned the language during or after their student years. While applying for a position in a tech company, a middle or a senior candidate is expected to speak upper-intermediate or advanced English. The salary of a programmer can be substantially lower if their English isn’t good enough for day-to-day communication with a client. Consequently, the ability to speak English in Ukraine’s tech industry is a prerequisite for a competitive remuneration. Lower requirements apply to entry-level programmers, however, they’re expected to improve their knowledge in order to move up the career ladder.

English is also important for those programmers who want to enrich their technical skills. The majority of technical literature is simply not available in Ukrainian so there’s no other way for a programmer wishing to stay in the loop but to learn English.

Some Tips on Working with Ukrainian Programmers:

  • Build trustful relationships with a team and treat them as an extension of your core team.
  • Set ground rules from the first day of collaboration.
  • Communicate your expectations as clearly as possible.
  • Create space for free sharing of ideas.

Kateryna Kachkovska,
Digital Content Manager and Writer at Daxx

Daxx is a Dutch-based company with 20 years of experience in connecting tech businesses from all over the world with high-class specialists in Ukraine. With Daxx, you can build a remote team of programmers and find quality assurance and DevOps engineers.

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